With prolonged lockdown measures in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus, businesses are relying on dedicated messengers to keep in touch with their employees while they work from home. Of course, there are plenty of commercial options available, but these are not always the best solutions.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a distinct increase in digital footprints. Not only does this mean that there is more information for internet service providers to eavesdrop on, it has prompted a rapid rise in cybercrime with messengers at the center.
Whether you want to secure your team’s conversations, or simply want to explore a more customizable experience, we recommend considering self-hosted options that install directly onto your own server.
Troop Messenger - Secure Office Chat App
At its core, Troop Messenger is a hybrid cloud solution for internal team chat. The software is designed to increase efficiency, innovation, and agility in privacy-conscious organizations while keeping data under control.
It’s a smart, secure, and proven team collaboration software used by high-trust organizations. Offering a feasible deployment for self-hosting, Troop Messenger allows teams to keep their data under their control with no eavesdropping!
Businesses can self-host using their private cloud, on-premise servers, and public cloud. TM can be further customized for Defence or Military teams, Government, and Non-Profit Organisations.
Troop Messenger has a highly intuitive interface paired with a seamless navigational feature. It has all the contemporary features a team needs to address business collaboration requirements. For example, unlimited one-on-one and group messaging, message recall, video and voice call, audio messaging, screen and content sharing, live location tracking, and advanced search filters.
Troop Messenger can also be integrated with Google Drive and Dropbox. It has a special burnout window feature where team members can communicate in a confidential chat window and the chat gets automatically deleted after a stipulated period.
Another feature worth mentioning is ‘orange member’ that allows teams to add third-party vendors and suppliers in the chat directory by giving them restricted access.
What makes Troop Messenger a secure chat app?
- Custom retention policies for messages and files
- Active Directory / LDAP single sign-on
- GDPR compliant
- Multi-layered security for all data and file transfer: finger-print, passcode, and user credentials
- Multi-layered admin privileges
- Data encryption while at transit and rest
- Mitigates the risk of data theft
- Surveillance features for close monitoring of employee interaction
- Private Chat Burnout Window for confidential conversations
- Troop Messenger can limit the features of new users (or external vendors and suppliers) have access to
Mattermost - an open source, self-hosted Slack alternative
Known as an easy-to-use, self-hosted Slack alternative, Mattermost has all essential features you need to keep your team’s collaboration game on point. Top features include threaded messaging, file sharing, unlimited search history, extensive integrations, and continuous archiving.
Tech giants such as Samsung and Uber rely on Mattermost for internal communication. Originally developed for DevOps teams, Mattermost has scaled as an ideal solution for any team or industry. The users download and deploy Mattermost Enterprise edition on their private cloud for full-level data control.
It can also be deployed to Google Cloud Platform, Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Oracle via Bitnami. Mattermost APIs and drivers allow users to build their own apps.
It adapts to your deployment needs, policies, preferences, and existing. The tool works over a diverse platform like Linux, macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android.
What makes Mattermost a secure chat app?
- TLS encryption using AES-256 with 2048-bit RSA
- Encryption-at-rest is available for messages and files
- Compliant with US HIPAA and FINRA
- Connections to LDAP is secure with TLS
- Remove message contents from push notifications
Rocket.Chat - Open Source, Enterprise Team Chat
If you’re looking for a free, open-source team chat tool, then Rocket Chat is probably your best bet. This self-hosted tool comes with all the essential collaboration features like one-on-one and group messaging, audio and video calling, content and screen sharing, etc.
With Rocket.Chat, you get the freedom to do endless customization in terms of choosing themes, design, plugin, and features. Going further, it supports easy migration from other chat apps through data importers.
Rocket.Chat is available across all major web, desktop, and mobile platforms. It supports powerful APIs like LiveChat API, REST, and more.
What makes Rocket.Chat a secure chat app?
- Multi Factor-authentication
- Federation & SAML support
- End-to-End Encryption at Rest & In Transit
- Granular User permission
- Compliance with GDPR, HIPAA, and more
- Deployed in hardened cloud infrastructure
Zulip: Powerful, Open-Source Team Chat App
Zulip has a unique approach to team communication. The threaded-conversation model is different from conventional team chat apps. On Zulip, each section has a subject-line and sub-section, making it easier for users to grasp the topic.
Zulip, like most of the team chat apps, offers private and group messaging, document management, image pasting, customized notification, and drag-and-drop file uploads. Other Zulip features include code syntax highlighting, fast search, integration options, and keyword shortcuts.
What makes Zulip a secure chat app?
- TLS encryption at-rest
- Authentication over HTTPS for data transmission
- Compliant with the USA’s HIPAA and GDPR standards
- Single sign-on with Google, GitHub, SAML
- Default password strength checker
- Content of a message can be excluded in a push notification
Bitrix24: Business Collaboration Platform With CRM
With Bitrix, teams can have access to all the standard collaboration and communication features - real-time chat and video, unlimited workgroups, document management, private and group calendars, and HR management system.
In addition to these features, Bitrix24 offers project and task management features for the entire team. Other exceptional features include time tracking, task templates, and the option to add external users.
The self-hosted Bitrix24 version gives teams direct access to the source code. This makes Bitrix24 completely customizable. Going further, the SDK and API documentation helps teams integrate the tool with other third-party apps and services important to their business.
Businesses choose Bitrix24 over other chat apps because of its powerful backend, built-in-full-blown CRM and CMS, and native integrations with office 365, MS exchange, and MS SharePoint lists. Bitrix is easy to deploy. It runs on all the major servers. And in case you don’t have one, they can help you with deployment, hosting, and administration.
What makes Bitrix24 a secure chat app?
- Two-factor authentication
- Bitrix OTP
- Google Authenticator, FreeOTP
- RSA encryption
- Custom backup rules
- Web Application Firewall
There are plenty of promising self-hosted team chat applications, primed to get you and your business through this pandemic. Despite the longer setup time, each of these provides a more secure, personalized, and flexible experience that is practically unrivalled by their commercial counterparts.
Thinking of another favorite secure chat app that didn't make the list? Feel free to share it in the comments below so everyone can check it out!